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Friday, April 10, 2009

UK worried about Jerusalem demolitions

Abdul Jalil Mustafa, Arab News

AMMAN: British Foreign Secretary David Miliband yesterday expressed his country’s concern over the demolition of Palestinian houses in Jerusalem, saying the holy city should be the capital of both Israel and the future Palestinian state.

“We view with real concern the proposed demolitions in East Jerusalem,” Miliband told a press conference he jointly addressed with his Jordanian counterpart Nasser Judeh. “Jerusalem should be the capital of the Palestinians and Israel,” he said.

Miliband was responding to plans by Israel to demolish scores of houses in a Jerusalem suburb that would turn about 1,500 Palestinians homeless.

The Israeli authorities alleged that the building of the houses was illegal in East Jerusalem, which Israel captured from Jordan in the 1967 Six-Day War and annexed it, saying the holy city would remain the “eternal, undivided capital” of the Jewish state.

The United Nations still consider East Jerusalem an occupied city and both Jordan and the Palestinians insist that there would be no peace in the region before Israel quits East Jerusalem so as it becomes the capital of an independent Palestinian state.

Miliband met Jordan’s King Abdallah who stressed the need for launching “serious negotiations” between Israel and the Palestinians in the run-up to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, the royal court said.

“The monarch discussed with Miliband efforts being exerted with a view to launch serious negotiations to settle the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on the basis of the two-state solution,” a royal court statement said.

“King Abdallah underscored the importance of the role of Europe and the world community in pushing forward the peace talks between the Palestinian and Israeli sides toward the establishment of just peace based on relevant UN resolutions and the Arab peace initiative,” it added.

Judeh earlier on Wednesday conferred with the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Robert Serry, underlining the importance of the UN role in pushing forward the Arab-Israeli peace negotiations, an official statement said.

“The United Nations and the world community have an important role to play in launching serious negotiations aimed at bringing about a settlement for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict,” Judeh told the visiting US envoy.

The new US administration of President Barack Obama and the European Union have a pivotal role to perform in advancing the Middle East peace process in the run-up for the implementation of the “two-state solution,” he said.

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